WITH wool buyers racing to complete orders and send them on their way before the three-week live auctions Christmas and new year recess, prices firmed across the board last week at the Western Wool Centre (WWC).
Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) acknowledged last week's trading at the WWC and its Melbourne and Sydney selling centres was the "final buying opportunity for exporters trying to fill and ship December orders".
The recess will be followed on February 1 by Chinese new year transition from year of the ox to year of the tiger - triggering a week of public holidays and up to 16 days of celebrations in China.
So of the coming eight weeks, only four will be free of some disruption to normal wool trade, either here or in China.
Those non-trading weeks and the shipping time to get wool to China are the reason the second-last wool trading week of the year at the WWC is traditionally a good one and so it was last week.
The only exceptions to the rising trend were the 21 micron fleece price guide and the Merino cardings guide on the first trading day last week.
The 21 micron guide slipped 6 cents, but added 11c on the second day for a net gain of 5c across the week to finish at 1315c per kilogram clean.
The Merino cardings guide marked time on the first day, but added 10c on the second to finish at 891c/kg.
All the other price guides firmed on the first trading day and added more on the second, as buyers picked through the offerings.
Price rises across the week ranged from 33c (18.5 micron to finish at 1854c/kg) to 16c (20 micron to finish at 1364c/kg).
The Western Market Indicator added 12c for the week, climbing to 1417c/kg for a third week in a row above 1400c/kg.
The benchmark Eastern Market Indicator added 14c to 1360c/kg.
As previously reported in Farm Weekly, wool buyers do not want to carry the cost of wool purchased for a part-filled order over the Christmas-new year break which, particularly when coupled with recent shipping delays, could hurt their cash flow situation and limit purchasing ability in the trading period vital for continuity of supply to clients between the return of live auctions the second week of January and Chinese new year.
The overall WWC passed-in rate was down to 9.6pc of the 6853-bale offering, but still trailed the Melbourne (6.4pc passed in) and Sydney (5.9pc) selling centres, according to AWEX.
Techwool Trading, PJ Morris and Meliwa were the top three buyers on the first trading day and on the second Tianyu displaced Meliwa.
Michell Wool, Endeavour Wool Exports and Westcoast Wool & Livestock also featured prominently on both days of the WWC buyers' list.
For the third week running, gross wool sales turnover at the WWC topped $10 million for the week, coming in at $10.54m.
The WWC is scheduled to offer 7289 bales this week, the final trading week for 2021.
The national offering is also set to increase this week, rising 2990 bales to 42,036.
Want weekly news highlights delivered to your inbox? Sign up to the Farm Weekly newsletter.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.